The Switzerland County Council has a new member.
Following the death of Dr. Elizabeth “Itsy” Jones, who was representing District One on the County Council, a caucus of the Republican party was held on Wednesday, August 19th, and Mathew Dutkiewicz was selected to serve out the remainder of Jones’ term. District One is Jefferson I and Jefferson II precincts, mainly representing the Town of Vevay.
Dutkiewicz and his wife, Karin, purchased a home on Market Street about 10 years ago, and moved to the community permanently about six years ago.
“We love the community, and it’s worked out well for us,” Dutkiewicz said.
The new councilman has a career of military service as a member of the Marine Corps, but also brings extensive business experience to the council.
“Out of high school I went straight into the Marine Corps, and did some of my education through there,” he said. “I was going to make it a career Marine, but met a beautiful girl and decided that wasn’t going to work, so that’s lasted 32 years — so I guess that was the right decision.”
After leaving the Marine Corps, Dutkiewicz entered private business in the insurance world.
“I started with a company out of Columbus, Ohio, named Midland Mutual,” he said. “They were basically a life insurance company, annuities, term, and universal life. I was there for about eight years, and then took a position with a company down in Raleigh, North Carolina with a company called PennCor Financial, and became their Chief Operating Officer, and then took over one of their international companies in Panama. We were there about five years, then left there because I was recruited to a company called Great American in Cincinnati, Ohio.”
Coming to Cincinnati as the company’s marketing officer, and then moved over to run the company’s retirement division. He left that role in 2015 as their executive vice president, with accountability for approximately $16 billion in assets and overseeing a budget of about $22 million.
Dutkiewicz laughs when he says that he grew up in a town in Michigan that’s actually smaller than Vevay, and when he and Karin had the opportunity to move into their home here in Vevay, the couple quickly settled in and fell in love with the community.
“It’s good to be back after being in the metropolitan areas,” Dutkiewicz said of small town life. “I like the quiet of the town. I’ve really enjoyed it. Karin has enjoyed it. I like to play in the dirt when I have time, and the property allows me to do such. It kind of gets me back to what I grew up with.”
As for his role on the County Council, Dutkiewicz said that he at first didn’t have an interest, but when people began to approach him, he saw the chance to serve the county.
“Unfortunately, because of Itsy’s passing, the position became open,” he said. “Lisa (Fisher) came down to talk to me about it, and I still wasn’t sure I was going to take the position. The next day, Lary stopped by, Itsy’s husband.”
Dutkiewicz said that he first met Itsy and Lary while the couple was walking their dog about eight or nine years ago.
“She introduced herself to me with Lary, and we just developed a very good relationship. I think Switzerland County has lost a tremendous asset in Itsy,” Dutkiewicz said. “So Lary stopped by and he said to me, ‘Matt, Itsy would be very happy to know that you were filling her seat’. At that point, it was good enough for me.”
Dutkiewicz has been to a couple of the council’s meetings so far, and sees a group of people serving on the county council who first and foremost is looking out for Switzerland County.
“These are very trying times, not only for the county, but also the state,” he said. “Anything I can provide from my past experience to help in the short time I will be on this is great.”
His background with finance and private business and budgeting, Dutkiewicz brings a strong background to his new role.
“I sat in a budget meeting today (Monday),” he said. “I guess if there was ever a time when you really just can’t look at the numbers, you have to think about the people, too. There’s a tremendous impact to everybody out there. The casino revenue is not what it was, which is understandable because of the pandemic, but I think that council and the other employees who handle the budget, I think everybody’s trying to do their best to make sure that Switzerland County stays above the water line, if you will. That’s a tough chore right now.”